Tuesday, 30 September 2014

September blessings

I have a few half written posts waiting for me to finish, but felt inclined to post some pictures instead, which tell a bit of a story of the last few weeks. Some 'exciting' highlights include....

Freshly foraged oyster mushrooms on toasted brioche. (Had a bread shortage that day) OMG it was soooo delicious! Despite the exceptionally dry weather and parched ground, I spied the mushrooms on a shady log. Within 10 minutes I had got them home and fried them in some butter for my lunch. Since then, I have been walking the dog round all my mushroom spots in the hope of finding some more, but I think that will be all until it rains. My friend pointed out that I could always buy some oyster mushrooms from the supermarket to sate my cravings, but where is the fun in that?

Continuing on the simple food theme, I have been making roasted tomato sauce, which is a perfect base for pasta dishes or the beginnings of a delicious soup. It is based on something I saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall make in his River Cottage series, but it is always popular in our house because it gives a much sweeter sauce.

Put a variety of tomatoes in a roasting tin. The cherry tomatoes are home grown and the larger tomatoes are from the market. Stab them with a knife. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper and olive oil and pop in a medium hot oven. You can add herbs, onion or garlic too for a taste variation. I used a few sprigs of thyme. When it is cooled, whizz it up with a stick blender and season to taste.

I have also been blessed on the egg front too, having received a regular supply from a friend (Thanks Jo and girls) who keep their own hens. Aren't these the most beautiful coloured eggs ever? Anyone for Green Eggs and Ham? Her children even decorate the boxes :-) Could eggs get anymore fun than this?

We have green woodpeckers locally, but it was still a surprise to find this one perched on the tree just outside my kitchen door. You can just about make out the green body in the centre on the quick snapshot I took.

The house in the background has had PV panels fitted too - so many have been fitted in our area this summer! I am glad people are taking advantage of this incentive to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions :-)

And finally here are two cakes I have made this summer to use up spare courgettes. The first is a recipe from North West Edible Life. Erica batch bakes this cake, so I had to reduce the quantities to a third to make just one loaf and there was still enough mixture left for a dozen buns.

It should have been doomed to failure, as I also had to calculate everything into metric units, so there were plenty of opportunities for mistakes. But it was a success. A very delicious, grown-up cake which works well with a carrot cake type topping.

My youngest daughter refused to try it because the mixture looked rather disagreeable and the cakes had green flecks in them, so there was no denying the courgette content. I have frozen individual slices that can be de-frosted as a quick treat.

The second cake was a chocolate cake by Not Just Greenfingers. Actually it should be a traybake, but as we had some strawberries and cream in the fridge it became a rather large layer cake at the last minute, with a crocodile smile! This was more successful with the kids, mainly because the courgettes were peeled and grated finely so no green lumps! It was a very moist chocolatey cake, but still incredibly light and fluffy. It didn't last long.

I have frozen some grated courgette and will definitely be making these again, so thanks very much for the recipes ladies :-)


  1. I love your local food adventures! I wouldn't have the first clue as to how to identify an edible mushroom. I would love to find someone who could take me out into the wilds and show me.

    1. Thanks Jo. I wish I had someone who could show me too, but you can pick a lot up from books. I have a few mushroom identification books and stick to the mushrooms that are easy to recognise. 'The River Cottage Handbook No. 1: Mushrooms' by John Wright is a good place to start, but may not be suitable for Tasmania. I think River Cottage also run workshops and have online courses.

      Just start by picking one type of mushroom that grows nearby and try to identify it. If you are not sure don't eat it, and try to identify a different mushroom instead. Oyster mushrooms were the first ones we ate. Even though they are pretty easy to identify we instructed the kids what we had eaten and left a sample in the fridge in case they needed to get emergency help! You get more confident once you have identified a few successfully and it can be lots of fun. Do you fancy giving it a try?

  2. We had a surprise sighting of a wood pecker too, a couple of weekends ago, from our kitchen window - a Greater Spotted not a Green. I'm also about to grate a load of courgette for future cakes too!